Liat Mer | Israel 2013 | 56 Min. | OmeU
A rare look at the interactions between inmates and wardens over a period of two years, the Neve Tirza prison for women in central Israel is the setting for a story seen through the eyes of three women: one Jewish, one Muslim and one Christian. Ethnic diversity is explored within the confines of tiny prison cells. Shawn is “the good girl” of the prison. She longs to see her mother, to leave prison and even hopes to get off early for good behavior. Nariman is broken-hearted and carries on a phone relationship with a male prisoner in another prison. And Maria is raising her son inside the prison. She is a mother to a young son without having a mother of her own to lean on.
These women are locked down and shut out from society – and from themselves, strong and yet vulnerable. The relationship between the prisoners and the staff, and between the women themselves is a mixture of collective distrust and mutual respect. The mostly female staff at the prison are also presented as concerned and involved with the women’s fate. Liat Mer’s film reflects the tensions between vulnerability and independence. Locked Down is shot in a style that is close without being invasive. The film affords a glimpse at these women’s lives without degrading them. Their strength is the strength of the film.